"The Hydraulic Dewatered Stacking (HDS) tailings disposal technology utilizes naturally generated sands during production. Beyond addressing reservoir volume reduction, this technology positively impacts capital costs by leveraging existing mine materials."

Gustavo Bravo & Gonzalo Covarrubias

MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (GB) & MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR PERU & MEXICO (GC), WSP

May 17, 2024

How did WSP overcome the initial challenges posed by regional turmoil in 2023 to achieve growth in the mining industry?

GC: In 2023, we grew substantially, consolidating our leadership in mining waste management and expanding our services. Simultaneously, we grew our area in strategic advisory and consultancy, surpassing growth expectations in the Peruvian market. Despite a modest start, favorable conditions and stability allowed us to enhance our work at major mining projects, markedly improving and broadening our engagement.

GB: In 2023, we navigated through regional challenges as 2023 commenced, with instability in various jurisdictions, impacting investments. Yet, as months unfolded, the situation stabilized, unveiling notable growth in the mining industry, especially in Chile, Peru, and Brazil. We emphasized the consolidation and fortification of long-term relationships with key clients in the mining sector, underscoring our steadfast commitment to strategic partnerships.

Does WSP’s 2023 performance raise the expectations for 2024?

GC: Above-expectation metal prices predict a promising year. However, challenges are expected in talent attraction and retention, as well as in developing new technologies for maximum positive impact on our clients.

GB: In response to market signals, mining companies redirected investments towards brownfield projects, emphasizing operational enhancements, overcoming bottlenecks, and sustaining capital. WSP aligned its strategy with this trend, consolidating its position in this mining subsector and delivering significant outcomes through collaborations with key clients. 

What does WSP's Future Ready methodology entail, and how do you integrate considerations for the impact of global warming into your projects?

GC: Our commitment to design and to consultancy is reflected in projects spanning up to 40 years, acknowledging the perpetual evolution in social and environmental domains. Our global Future Ready Program seamlessly incorporates these trends, proactively addressing continuous changes. In anticipation of evolving influences on our client's projects, we have implemented a methodology aligned with our design criteria. This approach enables us to analyze diverse variables, emphasizing their impact on the project and concentrating on ESG factors. Our focus extends beyond green energies to include aspects like constructability, the complete lifecycle of assets, closure plans, and mining infrastructure, ensuring a holistic and sustainable vision.

GB: WSP's assessment of water resources and tailings storage facilities design integrates critical elements related to temperature change, water conditions, and the impact of climate change from the project's outset. This perspective is deemed essential from day one of any project. The heightened awareness of climate change's impact on mining design has resulted in increased client demand for the inclusion of these parameters. 

What innovative technologies is WSP exploring in the realm of tailings dam management?

GB: WSP has collaborated extensively with an important client to develop innovations, like the Hydraulic Dewatered Stacking (HDS) tailings disposal technology. Following successful pilot and concept tests, we anticipate its imminent adoption in new mining operations. This technology utilizes naturally generated sands during production, particularly in metal extraction like copper. Through a logical and sequential construction method, layering tailings and sands facilitates more efficient water drainage, significantly reducing the total volume of water content. Beyond addressing reservoir volume reduction, this technology positively impacts capital costs by leveraging existing mine material: sand. This project is interconnected with another initiative, Coarse Particle Recovery (CPR), crucial in HDS development and related to the mentioned sands.

Can you elaborate on the role of WSP in supporting sustainability and long-term strategic management throughout the lifecycle of mining operations?

GC: We actively provide comprehensive support throughout all project phases, including the critical aspect of managing community relations, ensuring positive engagement with local communities. Our vision extends beyond technical execution, emphasizing our dedication to sustainability and the harmonious integration of mining projects into their social and environmental surroundings. The consolidation of our strategy at WSP is evident in our role as a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm dedicated to supporting clients through various project phases. While excelling in specific areas, our commitment to delivering a consistent level of quality extends across different project stages. This effective strategy is reflected in WSP's acquisition of diverse companies, enabling establishing a service platform that spans not only a sector or service but several. 

GB: We maintain a continuous presence by accompanying clients throughout the entire asset lifecycle, from exploration, to construction, operation, closure and post-closure phases. Our perspective extends beyond individual phases or projects, offering a comprehensive and ongoing view supporting sustainability and mining operations' strategic long-term management. The significance of these strategic relationships lies in our commitment to contributing comprehensively across the entire spectrum of mining activities.

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